Sponsored Content
« Unproven Missile Defense Defies Presidential Skepticism, Successfully Intercepts Ballistic Missile (Again, at Night Even) | Main | Mash-Up of Atlas Shrugged And Our Dispiriting Reality »
April 15, 2011

Obama's Deficit Speech: Nothing But Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Very clever way to put it from Tarranto.

Obama's speech was little but waste (of time), fraud (on the public), and abuse (of invited guests, who were prompted to expect a serious proposal, not a demagogic, unserious nakedly-political attack).

On that last point, before turning to Taranto: Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator (and known as a deficit-hawk), and Obama's appointee to the deficit commission (the first one which he ignored, not the second one he will soon be ignoring), said before his speech that he expected "movement." He thought Obama was going to seriously tackle these things. He thought that Obama would dig down deep and find his inner statesman. He thought -- with Republicans now putting themselves at political risk by offering a real plan -- this freed the cautious, weak, vain Obama up to show a little courage in kind.

He too was invited to witness this travesty. I knew he was wrong and said so. But now he knows he's wrong, too.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson appeared jarred by the political nature of President Barack Obama’s speech on reducing the deficit Wednesday at George Washington University.

The Wyoming Republican, who had a front-row seat for Mr. Obama’s speech and co-chaired the White House’s panel on deficit-reduction last year, didn’t want to comment directly on the speech after it was over. His co-chairman, Erskine Bowles, wouldn’t even turn around to talk to reporters. Such a response is unusual for both men, who usually seek out reporters to talk about the country’s growing fiscal problems and demand immediate action.

We know Simpson wasn't pleased because where before he placed his hopes in Obama, now he could only place his hopes in the Gang of Six, six Senators (including three Democrats) who are actually sounding serious notes about some kind of real plan for the deficit and entitlements.

“Pray for the Gang of Six,” Mr. Simpson told two reporters after the speech, referring to a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate who are working on a deficit-reduction plan. “They are six guys, three Republicans, three Democrats, that are committed to doing something. Just pray for the gang of six.”


The one point of criticism Mr. Simpson would offer on Mr. Obama’s speech was the way the president characterized a proposal last week from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).

“Put your plan on the table, but don’t just label [the Republican proposal] as the ‘Great Republican theme’ because that’s not what it is. It’s a plan,” Mr. Simpson said.

He was asked what happens if the Gang of Six failed, too.

“Guys like you will be picking grit with the chickens when you are 65,” he replied. End of interview.

This is theme common to Obama -- profound disappointment. Obama, due to the sharp crease in his trousers, is able to convince people that he's a serious-minded, intelligent, and wise person. One by one they keep having the scales removed from their eyes.

Obama is just an actor. That's a good analogy, I think. Some actors are deemed leading men due to their looks, "type," and ability to project confidence and serious demeanor. Some actors can be credibly cast as scientists, professors, presidents, and captains of men. Heroes.

Some are always doomed to play the comic relief roles, the Hero's Friend roles, the character actor roles.

Importantly, this is just the ability to fake a heroic manner. Alec Baldwin, for example, seems well-cast as a brilliant corporate executive or a gutsy general in World War Two. But of course, in reality, he's wildly incompetent in either of these fields, and pretty much every other field, too.

This is what the Educated Elite don't get about Obama. This is where what they consider to be their inferiors do get, and the Educated Elite keep on being shocked to discover: That appearances can deceive.

For David Brooks, Obama is/was a candidate straight out of Central Casting, and I mean every inch of that analogy. He looked the part. He sounded the part. He had the right bullet-point credentials that you'd expect a Hero in a Movie to have -- Harvard, Columbia, mixed-race past, sonorous tones of enlightenment and idealism and rationality. And of course those impeccably-creased trousers.

He was well-cast in the Role of President.

But they never bothered to ask the questions their alleged inferiors did -- "What has he actually done?" He rabble-roused a bit and then served very briefly in politics, doing nothing of importance, except to advance himself politically. Hell, he's currently disowning his own vote on 2006 debt-ceiling increase as completely frivolous, selfish, and political.

But it didn't matter to the Educated Elite. Because, for them, it's not about accomplishments or character or actual thought, but the surface of things, and it's crucial they keep that system of the Surface of Things running smoothly because their livelihoods depend on it.

An economist (apparently a big-deal, accomplished one) also finds the scales dropping from his eyes.

In his speech on our nation's long-term budget crisis Wednesday, President Barack Obama identified the problem, but he failed to provide concrete solutions.

Indeed, when it came to describing how he would fix federal health care spending, Obama stayed pretty close to his budget document in which he said that Medicare and Medicaid costs would come down because they'd come down and, if they didn't, a panel of experts would tell Congress to lower them.

Give us a break. This is simply a continuation of kick-the-can down the road, which leaves ever larger government bills for our kids to pay.


Eloquence is no substitute for substance. We need real leadership now, not after the next election.

But Obama's speech made no effort to find common ground with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's plan to address Medicare and Medicare. Ryan was brave enough to say exactly what he thinks needs to be done with these programs.
If you read his Medicare plan carefully, you'll see that it's highly progressive because the size of each Medicare participant's voucher is based on his/her pre-existing health conditions, and poor participants have worse health status, on average, than rich participants.

Ryan's plan also puts the government on a fixed health care spending budget when it comes to these two programs, each of which is fully capable, on its own, of bankrupting the country.

I voted for and even campaigned for the president, and my jaw drops every time I hear him speak. But eloquence is no substitute for substance. We need real leadership now, not after the next election.

He goes on to say that if Obama proposed a serious reform, he'd be cheerleading for his reelection.

David Brooks, the highly regarded expert on trouser-creasing, still seemed to be holding out hope for Obama a week ago.

It also creates the pivotal moment of truth for President Obama. Will he come up with his own counterproposal, or will he simply demagogue the issue by railing against ''savage'' Republican cuts and ignoring the long-term fiscal realities? Does he have a sustainable vision for government, or will he just try to rise above the fray while Nancy Pelosi and others attack Ryan?

Why is it that the very smart David Brooks didn't know the answer to these questions when we peons did?

Take note of this -- before the speech, when David Brooks could still live in a world of optimism about the intentions and seriousness of his nicely-trousered hero Barack Obama, he had harsh words for a then-hypoethetical demagoguing of the issue. Before Obama opened his mouth, and could still take either the high road or the low road, Brooks slammed the low road, as you'd expect.

But after Obama took that low road, Brooks has now changed his tone, and finds it just splendid.

The president, meanwhile, hit the political sweet spot with his speech this week. He made a sincere call to reduce debt, which will please independents, but he did not specify any tough choices. He called for defense cuts and asked the Pentagon to find some. He called for a reduction in tax credits but didn’t point to any that should actually go. He called for reductions in Medicare costs and asked his board of technocrats to come up with some.

These are exactly the sort of vague but well-intentioned policies that have sold well in election after election. The president is not being cynical about this. He genuinely does believe that seniors and the middle class can be spared from any shared sacrifice. He really does believe in calling together teams of experts to devise proper solutions. Obama’s sincere preferences happen to be more popular.

See what he did there? Before Obama spoke, he specifically warned him away from this sort of naked demagogic appeal. But now that Obama has made that naked demagogic appeal, David Brooks is delighted, and can't say enough good things about it.

Oh well -- I included Brooks as the exception that proves the rule. For some people, the scales will never fall away. David Brooks is like a ten year old boy who is Michael Jackson Super Fan #1 and who will scream in horror if you mention that maybe the King of Pop was a boy-hungry pervert. Little children, and David Brooks, can never get over their hero worship and address reality.

Back to Taranto.

Obama said he was going to start "by being honest about what's causing our deficit." It's hard to cut spending: "You see, most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but like the stuff that it buys." It's hard to raise taxes: "My finely honed political instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes." And politicians are selling voters a bill of goods when they "feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse."

What's needed, he claimed, is "a serious plan" that will "require tough choices." He then outlined a four-step "approach"--it wasn't detailed enough to achieve planhood--that showed his promise of honesty to be an utter fraud.

Taranto then outlines that each of Obama's meager cost-cutting promises involves -- get this -- clamping down only on waste, fraud, and abuse, and vowing to make no cuts except to those spending cateogries.

Does no one else in the media notice this? That after sounding like an adult in the very beginning, and telling the public that any politician who tells you that we can reduce our deficit just by cutting "waste, fraud, and abuse" is a demagogic liar, he then goes on to only specify cuts targeting "waste, fraud, and abuse"?

Just words?

This is a man who owes his position to words (and his ability to play-act the role of Thoughtful, Wise Urban Professional).

Does no one else notice that we just heard that Obama is a demagogue, and a liar, and unserious about governance from the highest possible authority possible -- the mouth of Barack Hussein Obama himself?

There is literally nothing to Obama but an actor's craft -- lies, words penned by others appearing on cue-cards, feigned empathy, the ability to seem "right for a role," a bit of good (but not too good looks), and a talent for projecting a false air of competency.

People have compared Reagan and Obama. The comparison is apt, but requires some nuance:

Reagan was a popular actor who became a presidential candidate.

Obama was a presidential candidate who became a popular actor.

More: It doesn't want to, but even the the media is beginning to fault the formerly-praised performances of Captain Bullshit.

Even Democrats in Gang Of Six Can't Defend Naked Emperor: "Pray for the Gang of Six."

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., offered a terse reaction. “Our bipartisan group of six Senators continues to work for a comprehensive solution to our nation’s debt,” Durbin said. “The president’s speech makes it clear that he is committed to the same goal.”

digg this
posted by Ace at 12:31 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
redridinghood: "We're living in the Twilight Zone. ..."

Gentlemen, this is junta manifest: "You do realize you are backing the extra-judicial ..."

EveR: "WDW stopped selling new Annual Passes a couple yea ..."

Jordan61: "AKA - Elemental and Indy 5 are looking catastrophi ..."

ace: ">>>I bet if they could go back to the Timothy Zahn ..."

Christopher Taylor [/i][/i][/s][/s][/b][/b][/u][/u]: "[i]No one should buy Star Wars.[/i] I can see t ..."

Additional Blond Agent, STEM Guy[/i]: "[i]yes I fixed it, thanks to someone snarking at m ..."

Barnacle Bill the sailor: "yes I fixed it, thanks to someone snarking at me ..."

Awkwafina Scuttlebutt Song: "[I]So here's the scuttlebutt about Disney possibly ..."

Joe Mannix (Not a cop!): "No one should buy Star Wars. It's now a c-list bra ..."

What's a Seawolf?: "Whoever buys Star Wars should declare Disney Ep 7, ..."

bonhomme[/i][/i][/i][/b][/b][/b][/s][/s][/s][/u][/u][/u]: "Nick's even got the pedo-stache. Open secret inde ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64